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G.R. No. L-4963, Uson v.

Del Rosario
et al., 92 Phil. 530
Republic of the Philippines
January 29, 1953
G.R. No. L-4963 January 29, 1953
MARIA USON, plaintiff-appellee,
Priscilo Evangelista for appellee.
Brigido G. Estrada for appellant.
This is an action for recovery of the ownership and possession of five (5) parcels of
land situated in the Municipality of Labrador, Province of Pangasinan, filed by Maria
Uson against Maria del Rosario and her four children named Concepcion, Conrado,
Dominador, and Faustino, surnamed Nebreda, who are all of minor age, before the
Court of First Instance of Pangasinan.
Maria Uson was the lawful wife of Faustino Nebreda who upon his death in 1945 left
the lands involved in this litigation. Faustino Nebreda left no other heir except his
widow Maria Uson. However, plaintiff claims that when Faustino Nebreda died in

1945, his common-law wife Maria del Rosario took possession illegally of said lands
thus depriving her of their possession and enjoyment.
Defendants in their answer set up as special defense that on February 21, 1931, Maria
Uson and her husband, the late Faustino Nebreda, executed a public document
whereby they agreed to separate as husband and wife and, in consideration of their
separation, Maria Uson was given a parcel of land by way of alimony and in return
she renounced her right to inherit any other property that may be left by her husband
upon his death (Exhibit 1).
After trial, at which both parties presented their respective evidence, the court
rendered decision ordering the defendants to restore to the plaintiff the ownership and
possession of the lands in dispute without special pronouncement as to costs.
Defendants interposed the present appeal.
There is no dispute that Maria Uson, plaintiff-appellee, is the lawful wife of Faustino
Nebreda, former owner of the five parcels of lands litigated in the present case. There
is likewise no dispute that Maria del Rosario, one of the defendants-appellants, was
merely a common-law wife of the late Faustino Nebreda with whom she had four
illegitimate children, her now co-defendants. It likewise appears that Faustino
Nebreda died in 1945 much prior to the effectivity of the new Civil Code. With this
background, it is evident that when Faustino Nebreda died in 1945 the five parcels of
land he was seized of at the time passed from the moment of his death to his only heir,
his widow Maria Uson (Article 657, old Civil Code).As this Court aptly said, "The
property belongs to the heirs at the moment of the death of the ancestor as completely
as if the ancestor had executed and delivered to them a deed for the same before his
death" (Ilustre vs. Alaras Frondosa, 17 Phil., 321). From that moment, therefore, the
rights of inheritance of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested.
The claim of the defendants that Maria Uson had relinquished her right over the lands
in question because she expressly renounced to inherit any future property that her
husband may acquire and leave upon his death in the deed of separation they had
entered into on February 21, 1931, cannot be entertained for the simple reason that
future inheritance cannot be the subject of a contract nor can it be renounced (1

Manresa, 123, sixth edition; Tolentino on Civil Code, p. 12; Osorio vs. Osorio and
Ynchausti Steamship Co., 41 Phil., 531).
But defendants contend that, while it is true that the four minor defendants are
illegitimate children of the late Faustino Nebreda and under the old Civil Code are not
entitled to any successional rights, however, under the new Civil Code which became
in force in June, 1950, they are given the status and rights of natural children and are
entitled to the successional rights which the law accords to the latter (article 2264 and
article 287, new Civil Code), and because these successional rights were declared for
the first time in the new code, they shall be given retroactive effect even though the
event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the prior legislation (Article
2253, new Civil Code).
There is no merit in this claim. Article 2253 above referred to provides indeed that
rights which are declared for the first time shall have retroactive effect even though
the event which gave rise to them may have occurred under the former legislation, but
this is so only when the new rights do not prejudice any vested or acquired right of the
same origin. Thus, said article provides that "if a right should be declared for the first
time in this Code, it shall be effective at once, even though the act or event which
gives rise thereto may have been done or may have occurred under the prior
legislation, provided said new right does not prejudice or impair any vested or
acquired right, of the same origin." As already stated in the early part of this decision,
the right of ownership of Maria Uson over the lands in question became vested in
1945 upon the death of her late husband and this is so because of the imperative
provision of the law which commands that the rights to succession are transmitted
from the moment of death (Article 657, old Civil Code). The new right recognized by
the new Civil Code in favor of the illegitimate children of the deceased cannot,
therefore, be asserted to the impairment of the vested right of Maria Uson over the
lands in dispute.
As regards the claim that Maria Uson, while her deceased husband was lying in state,
in a gesture of pity or compassion, agreed to assign the lands in question to the minor
children for the reason that they were acquired while the deceased was living with
their mother and Maria Uson wanted to assuage somewhat the wrong she has done to

them, this much can be said; apart from the fact that this claim is disputed, we are of
the opinion that said assignment, if any, partakes of the nature of a donation of real
property, inasmuch as it involves no material consideration, and in order that it may
be valid it shall be made in a public document and must be accepted either in the same
document or in a separate one (Article 633, old Civil Code). Inasmuch as this essential
formality has not been followed, it results that the alleged assignment or donation has
no valid effect.
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is affirmed, without costs.